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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

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stopping with a drama of personalities, Charles I fighting
Cromwell for example, we move further to a kind of
geological study, we try to see what was happening
below the surface, we envisage the stresses and strains
that take place in the structure of the whole country.
Even ordinary political narrative is bound to be altered
as a result of this kind of structural analysis; and a
further range of territory is brought under tribute for
the purpose of assisting us in the elucidation of the story.
We do not need to be Marxists to confess that in reality
Marx and Engels, in spite of the mass of faults in whicli
their work is entangled, have done important se/vice
to the study of the historical process in modern times.

The Marxist would not only say that periods of
intellectual change should be studied with reference to
displacements or disturbances in the contemporary
structure of society. He would argue that the dis-
turbances and the structure might themselves be traced
back, at any rate on a last analysis, to some economic
conditioning circumstance. He makes what is sometimes
a plausible case (though it is one which it must be very
difficult to prove or disprove, especially as his system is
capable of such elasticity), that an alteration in modes of
production will be found to be the strategic factor in
large-scale historical change, provided die enquirer
pursues the question far enough, pursues it if necessary
back to a remoter past* He often has in mind the larger
transitions in world-history, and envisages a wide form
of generalisation, which requires us to cast our eyes
over long stretches of time; and in this way he would
explain die differences between feudal society and the